Charles Darwin in Song

Charles Darwin in Song

A science historian's scholarly explorations evolve into a one-man musical comedy about the world's most famous naturalist. (NYT)

Until Richard Milner came along, no one had ever discovered Charles Darwin the Singing Comedian. While most anthropologists are looking for intellectual insights, this scholar says he looks for song cues.

Officially, Milner is a science historian, but he regularly evolves into his hero on stage — complete with white beard, bowler and cape — for a self-composed one-man musical, “Charles Darwin: Live & In Concert.” He says he’s found his niche in the science world and he loves it, crafting rhyming lyrics about trilobites, garfish and tortoise shells. “To take an intellectual interest and translate it into musical theater is heaven to me.”

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his landmark work, “On the Origin of Species.” There’s not a lot of humor in that controversial tome, but Milner focuses on finding the lighter side of Darwin — which is more evident in his letters. From this he naturally selects his material and crafts musical versions of Darwin’s life and theories, which he has performed all over the world.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 3:45

By Erik Olsen